It is the really personal note that I miss in The little dark thorn. Merrie is taken from her Malayan mother when she is six and is brought up by a great-aunt; some years later she has to adjust again, to her father's young Norwegian wife, and to bear some of the responsibility for the tragic death of her young stepsister. The story covers the whole childhood and much of the adolescence of the heroine, who tells her own story. Her narrative is sober and monotonous and does not really give an individual impression; Merrie's feelings are not realised strongly enough to sustain so long a life-span or such a succession of difficult adjustments. (p. 1864)
Margery Fisher, in her Growing Point, January, 1972.
[The Little Dark Thorn] is quite an unusual story and is concerned very largely with personal relationships. The central figure in it is Merrie, daughter of a British father and a Malayan mother…. It is told in the first person and such an adult mental approach is given to the child's thoughts, reactions and attitudes in the first year or two that much of the part "Aunt Emma's house" suffers as a result…. The story otherwise moves well, maintains the interest and many episodes are related with realism. (p. 103)
The Junior Bookshelf, April, 1972.